Issue details

23/00008 - Gypsy and Traveller Service Improvement Project

Proposed decision:

As Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, I agree to procure and delegate authority to the Director for Growth and Communities to enter into the Memorandum of Understanding with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to carry out a range of refurbishment and improvement works on the KCC owned Gypsy and Traveller Sites which will be funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Traveller Site Fund.

 

Background:

The DLUHC Traveller Fund was launched in May 2022 and welcomed bids for improvement and development projects on designated Gypsy and Traveller Sites.  The national fund was  £10million, and Local Authorities were invited to bid for individual projects not exceeding £1million per bid.  Due to the limited amount of funding available, and it being the first opportunity of its kind, there was a lot of interest in applying for the competitive fund.

 

The Gypsy and Traveller Service submitted 7 individual bids, totalling £3.8million and were successful in all of them.

 

All of the project plans will provide essential improvements and maintenance on site, which will ensure KCC is providing residential sites that are safe and well maintained.

 

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)

Division affected: Canterbury City North; Dover North; Malling Central; Malling North East; Sevenoaks Rural North East; Sevenoaks West; Sittingbourne North;

Notice of proposed decision first published: 19/01/2023

This decision will be taken under urgency procedures.

Reason for urgency:
Due to the numerous changes in central government last year, the decision around the award of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) Traveller Site Fund was delayed, and it was only advised to us on 23rd December 2022 that we had been successful in all our applications and have been awarded £3.8million in capital grant. Consequently, the timeframe for accepting the funding awarded is extremely short (13th January 2023). Acceptance is through the signing of a short Memorandum of Understanding. A short extension to the initial deadline has been agreed, but this means that the Key Decision that is required has to be a semi-urgent one.

Decision due: Not before 27th Jan 2023 by Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services

Lead director: Stephanie Holt-Castle

Department: Growth, Environment & Transport

Contact: Natalie Liddiard, Head of Gypsy and Traveller Service Telephone: 03000 413407 Email: natalie.liddiard@kent.gov.uk.

Financial implications: Part of the funding agreement is that KCC contributes £250,000 in match funding alongside the DLUHC capital grant funding. KCC Infrastructure has agreed to allocate £250,000 from the Modernisation of Assets capital budget that was already ring-fenced for Gypsy and Traveller Sites.

Legal implications: Delivering the project will enable KCC to fulfil its legal obligations as a Landlord and make the sites ‘fit for purpose’. Asset condition surveys were completed by KCC Infrastructure in early 2022 as part of its wider surveying of the corporate estate, and the majority of maintenance and repair issues raised as part of this will be rectified with this funding.

Equalities implications: There are no negative equality implications with this project. Gypsy and Travellers are a protected group, and this money will allow KCC to ensure the designated sites that are provided to them are safe and fit for purpose.

Decisions